'Pro-active intelligence needed to check Tiger poaching'



`Pro-active intelligence needed to check Tiger poaching` Bangkok: Pro-active intelligence and national coordination is needed to tackle the illegal wildlife crime especially Tiger poaching, gripping Asia, wildlife conservationists and police heads told a global meet here.

Asia unfortunately has become the "source, transit and destination (consumers)" of wildlife crimes, mainly of Tiger parts, they said.

"Wildlife and other environmental criminals too often operate in remote areas with impunity, evading detection and circumventing full prosecution under the law," Keshav Varma, of the World Bank Global Tiger Initiative told 'Heads of Police and Customs seminar on Tiger Crime,' hosted by the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife.

The meet was organised by Interpol, UN office on drugs and crime, World Customs Organisation, World Bank and the Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna.

The World Bank has extended USD 100 million of concessional aid for six countries including India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Laos and Vietnam better to combat tiger poaching.

"We are pushing for better governance, smart patrolling and better management of the parks," Varma said.

He said there had been a surge in the demand for Tiger parts and illegal traders had become more aggressive and better organised going into another country and poaching.

Most wild Tigers were left at boundaries/borders of countries, Varma said.

"This needs to be looked at, the habitat of Tigers which are stressed needs to examined, the roads that are being built through core Tiger habitat will destroy the integrity of the area," he felt.

One piece of good news was that the Jim Corbett national park had reported sightings of 49 Tiger cubs.

Police and customs heads from 13 Asian countries agreed to tighten controls and improve cross border cooperation to curb the illegal smuggling of tigers and other critically endangered species.

They reached the accord at the conclusion of the meeting today. "The tale of the Tiger is not simply about conservation, it is also about crime," Yury Fedotov, UNODC executive director said adding it concerned transnational organised crime, high profits, widespread corruption, money laundering, fraud, counterfeiting and violence.

Twenty six delegates from 13 Tiger range countries as well as other international conservationists attended the meet.

"We must take immediate and urgent action to save these magnificent animals from extinction," Kunio Mikuriya, WCO secretary general said.

Another delegate, John Scanlon of Cites said "Our efforts to fight Tiger crime must not just result in seizures, they must result in prosecutions, convictions and strong penalties to stop the flow of contraband."

"If we get the enforcement system right for the tiger, we will help save countless other species together with their ecosystem," he added.

Well known Indian Tiger Conservationist Valmik Thapar did a video presentation of the many facets of the Indian Tiger including several rare and unusual photographs and video shots of tigers with their cubs, tiger hunting a crocodile, which brought loud applause and appreciation from the audience.

"You have to know how the Tiger thinks to save it," he appealed.

PTI